As the TCSA election campaigns ramp up, there have been concerns voiced by students about how the campaigns are being conducted.
For instance, during the publicity campaigns, those who are running for the coveted positions on the TCSA board, for president, vice-president and so on, have been posting, or have had posts put up on Facebook under the Trent University group.
During this time several students that have posted for Corey LeBlanc, who is running for TCSA president, have experienced segregation and ridicule on the social media website.
This experience on the unofficial Trent University Facebook group, consisting of over five thousand students, has seen many posts from all of the hopefuls with their intentions and promises if they are elected to TCSA office.
But for some this is not so.
When posting for LeBlanc and his campaign, a student who wishes to remain nameless for fear of further segregation and harassment, said that within minutes his post was removed and he had been blocked.
This negative publicity towards LeBlanc has not swayed him away from his dedication for a better Trent experience, not only for today, but for tomorrow as well.
The segregation that these students have experienced on social media at the hands of not only fellow students, but by the student government, has tainted their views of the fairness and equality that is said to be on campus.
As I have witnessed myself, on the Facebook page there is no free speech and no fairness for the student body; posts are heavily policed, especially when it comes to who can post on the website.
The admins have complete censorship over what posts they allow, and by whom.
Prior to the election campaign, the Facebook page that is run by Trent students, but is not officially associated with the university, has changed the way students can post and interact with it.
Several students have experienced segregation and seclusion at the hands of the administrators, who have been disallowing those students that might pose some opposition. With over five thousand students currently following the page and seeing everything that is carefully screened for approval, this begs the question…
Is this just the beginning of the censorship and segregation for the Trent of tomorrow, or can it be stopped before it is too late?
LeBlanc has an answer to this and it is simple. Transparency.
He believes that for Trent to remain a beacon of hope for the students, it is important for the students to feel like they have someone that will listen to them and be there for them when they have concerns.
For LeBlanc, this comes in the form of a four-plank platform that consists of his cornerstone for more accountability for those who are involved in sexual harassment and sexual assault in the form of a zero tolerance policy that would make campus life safer.
LeBlanc said “it is absolutely unacceptable,” and that if he is elected TCSA President, he will “deal with sexual assault harshly and quickly.”
One of the ways he plans to combat this problem, that seems to be plaguing universities and colleges around the country, is by adding more cameras to the campus, especially in the more secluded parts that might not be heavily traveled at night, near the science complex for instance.
Another of his platform promises is that there should be more options available for the fees that are paid for through tuition.
Most students do not use every service that is being paid for through the ancillary fees that are charged through tuition.
That’s why he believes there should be more availability to opt out of those services that students, current and future, will not personally use. LeBlanc believes that students should have more say in how the money they pay for tuition is spent to improve their university experience.
The next platform of his election campaign is an inclusive student leadership for all. This would include all forms of student-led groups on campus and not allow one majority to say who can function on the grounds of the university and who cannot.
LeBlanc said he does not think this “is conducive to an inclusive student government to have these sorts of decisions made, where one group can be on campus and another group can’t.”
He went on to say that “university campuses should be a bastion of free speech” and it should be completely against censorship.
“[E]ven groups that I necessarily do not agree with, should have the right to have their opinions heard,” he said.
He believes that the silencing of student opinion should not exist in a free and open environment, such as a university campus.
He also believes that there should be more done with regards to the student government and how they make the student body feel included in the decision making process regarding campus life; the thousands of students, who are TCSA members and are paying fees, need to be included.
“We cannot have thousands of TCSA members paying for events for a select minority,” he explained.
The final stage of his platform would see him donating 10 per cent of the $25,000 TCSA President’s yearly wage for meaningful help for students in poverty.
This would help out students who have had financial troubles through the enacting of a bursary called the “President’s Compassion Fund,” and this would split up into five different grants of $500 each, and would be awarded to students who are living in poverty that are excelling academically throughout the year.
“I would encourage all other candidates for election to follow my lead,” said LeBlanc.
LeBlanc has some good ideas that are and have been stifled through the use of segregation by opposition leaders that would see your tuition dollars spent for the minority of the student population.
At the beginning of researching and interviewing for this piece, I tried to submit a post on the Trent University group on Facebook that has been and is still being used as an advertising platform for the other candidates.
I posted a link to the group about LeBlanc’s Facebook group for the election, and it still has not been published to the site that is being censored for content that they do not wish others to see.